Each month I pick a product that glows with a “health halo.” A product that claims to be healthy, but actually is not. And this month The 5 Hour Energy Shot takes center stage. Their website brags: “At only two ounces it goes down fast. It has zero sugar, zero herbal stimulants and only four calories. It’s packed with B-vitamins, amino acids, nutrients and as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee.”
Now why would an average consumer need to take shots of caffeine throughout the day? I can think of two obvious reasons- you’re either hungry or tired. And I know of only two effective antidotes: food or sleep. When your body asks for fuel or a nap and you respond with caffeine, you are masking the underlying issue (not to mention running on a serious insufficient fuel source.)
I’m not saying the caffeine is evil (but here’s a link to an article that discusses the potential side effects of caffeine.) In fact there is research to show that caffeine is an effective ergogenic aid for athletes (although banned by many professional organizations). However, most of us are not athletes and most of us need to focus on proper sleep, moderate exercise and sound nutrition for a high-energy day.
I can promise that with adequate rest and several balanced meals and snacks evenly distributed throughout the day, you can avoid the dips in blood sugar that may have you running for a 5 hour shot of caffeine mid-afternoon. Interested in learning more? My colleague Karen Giles Smith wrote this article that may be of interest.
DISCLAIMER: I am not opposed to eating things that are non-nutritious but tasty. I would be the last to turn down a homemade chocolate chip cookie! My purpose is to help you see through the marketing ploy of food companies and understand how to feed your body based on sound nutrition. The goal is to fill our diets with nutritious foods and enjoy the yummy but not particularly healthy foods in moderation. My hope is to give you a little clarity with these “No Case” postings.
Your friendly dietitian in Cambridge,